Reluctance to start medication for Parkinson's disease: A mutual misunderstanding by patients and physicians

Tiago A. Mestre*, Tiago Teodoro, William Reginold, Julia Graf, Maike Kasten, Joanna Sale, Mateusz Zurowski, Janis Miyasaki, Joaquim J. Ferreira, Connie Marras

*Corresponding author for this work
3 Citations (Scopus)


Reluctance to start medication has never been investigated before in PD. We studied reluctance to start medication for PD motor symptoms, namely its prevalence, underlying reasons, drug-specificity, and associated delay in the start of PD medication. A cross-sectional observational international study was conducted. Patients with a clinical diagnosis of PD advised to start antiparkinsonian medication in the previous 5 years were invited to complete a questionnaire in three centers located in North America and Europe. An electronic online survey was sent to physicians through the mailing list of the Movement Disorder Society. 469 participants (201 PD patients, 268 physicians). 40.2% (n = 82) of the patients reported reluctance to start medication, but 88.6% (n = 234/264) of the physicians estimated that ≤20% of their patients with PD had been reluctant to start medication. The most common reasons reported by patients were the fear of side effects (n = 35, 55.6%), followed by non-acceptance of diagnosis (n = 23, 36.5%); fear of a temporally limited benefit was more commonly selected by physicians (n = 92/267, 34.5%). Patients indicated reluctance to start DAs more frequently compared with L-DOPA (OR: 2.22, 95% CI: 1.30, 9.03; p = 0.013) while physicians perceived L-DOPA to be associated with more reluctance (OR: 4.7, 95% CI: 3.41; 6.59; p < 0.0001). Patients with PD and physicians have a different perspective on the issue of reluctance to start medication. There is a need to bring physicians and patients with PD closer to a shared vision of the problem reluctance to start medication.

Original languageEnglish
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)608-612
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 06.2014

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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